10th February 2014 at 11:33 #527346
Anonymous10th February 2014 at 11:33 #527347
Departing, Saturday 1 February, from Gatwick to Grenoble with Monarch. 1155 departure. As I have one of those Airport Angels cards, I stuck myself in the A1 lounge and kept a watchful eye on the departure board.
Delayed, delayed, delayed….. Finally the gate is opened at about 1500. So I go to the gate, present my board card, and am refused boarding. Gate bod waves a Transit Pass and asks if I have one.
“Er, no, I’m not in transit. I’m on this flight.”
Gate bod waves a £5 meal/drink coupn. “Did you receive one of these?”
“No, I’ve been in the lounge.” And without either of these vital pieces of paper, I wasn’t allowed to fly. Seems they laid on a replacement aircraft that was smaller than the original, and decided who would fly according to who turned up for their free coupon.
I have never, ever, ever been refused boarding while in possession of a valid boarding pass. Another couple was in the same boat: they pointed out that nobody notified the lounges of this development.
“Well, all these people heard the announcement,” snapped gate bod, waving a sheaf of cards.
So I was bumped onto a later flight.
Then we all had to troop out onto the tarmac, in pouring rain, to identify our baggage which was spread out between two parked Monarch aircraft. They let us out of the terminal ten at a time, so this took quite a long time, and why it couldn’t be done from the tags on the baggage, I have no idea.
Boarded the later flight at 1600 and we took off about 1630.
As far as I’m concerned, I have two issues to raise with Monarch (and I will, I will). The first is the issue of compensation for a delay that stretched longer than four hours. the second is ditto for being bumped off a flight for which I had a valid boarding pass.
I’m well aware that flight announcements are not made in lounges, the the gate staff’s attitude was that it was my responsibility (and that of other passengers) to be aware of announcements that were made in the general terminal, even if there was no hint of them on the in-lounge departure boards. I disagree.
Finally got to my ski chalet at 1030pm, in a foul mood.10th February 2014 at 14:08 #527348
Very annoying, however if the only substitute plane they could source was smaller then presumably someone had to be bumped off? If everyone had checked in by that stage wouldn’t everyone be holding a boarding pass?10th February 2014 at 14:56 #527349
Well, I’m assuming it was a smaller aircraft or they wouldn’t have had to bump people off. But, yes.
It wasn’t the fact that the aircraft went tech that annoyed me: it was the attitude of the ground staff that it was my responsibility to be aware of flight announcements not made within my hearing….
I mean, how hard is it to simply stick your hread round a lounge door, or just call the desk there, and say: “Anyone for Monarch to Grenoble here?”10th February 2014 at 15:08 #527350
If faced by the same situation again TOH, consider taking a leaf from Sir Richard Branson 😉
….I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time.
At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do.
Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was cancelled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night….10th February 2014 at 15:27 #527351
To be honest TOH I can understand your frustration but I don’t really see it’s the airline’s job to check around the third party lounges. If you were a premium passenger flying with say BA I could understand it but even then I doubt they would be checking third party lounges, only their own.
Did you check at any point at the front desk and what did they tell you?
Presumably EU261 will kick in for any compensation, however I would have thought the BP issue was a red herring since with a smaller plane someone holding a BP was going to be unlucky. I don’t think in this day and age of internet check in etc having a BP in your pocket carries any guarantees.10th February 2014 at 15:50 #527352
It didn’t occur to me to ask the front desk, no. The board was directly behind it, and we had a brief chat about how I was going to be late, but obviously they knew no more than I – that the flight had been delayed, but not that there was a boarding pass lottery going on.
EU261 will be invoked, anyway. I just *bet* that the first application will receive a fob-off.10th February 2014 at 17:33 #527353
Lovely story BigDog, if only we could do that today 😉
ToH, I can fully understand your frustration, and it does seem a bit of a lottery but I always question how they will decide who will be bumped and who not. I’m guessing all passengers were equal, ie. no Gold cards, business class etc? If so then I think they used a very different and novel criteria, food vouchers, as the deciding factor!!!
I know it was not funny for you, and if the shoe was on the other foot I’d also be fuming, but sitting here reading this bought a smile to my face, and I suspect it did too others as well.
I can only say, go for the compensation, and enjoy a good G&T or 3 with the proceeds, have fun in the snow and be careful not to break anything!10th February 2014 at 18:15 #527354
I can imagine you were a very tired TOH at the end of the day 😉
Poor show from Monarch. You would think it would have been aware of the aircraft change while passengers were checking in and acted accordingly.10th February 2014 at 20:43 #527355
Disturbing to read of the UK’s premier charter gone scheduled airline.
You may want to drop a line to Head of Customer Service
paul.keithley at monarch.co.uk
hope this helps10th February 2014 at 22:59 #527356
It is very simple logic really, they should start by bumping the people who checked in last. Work from the end of the list backwards, irrespective of who went to claim their voucher. Sounds like another good reason to why I would never fly Monarch. All airlines face it at some point but it is how you deal with these situations that count.
As you got there in the end, I hope the compensation makes you feel better and helps you book with an airline that takes its customer service more seriously.11th February 2014 at 03:41 #527358
Why should they do that TravelWise? Why not those who paid the lowest fare? Or those that arrived latest at the airport? Or those that didn’t come to the transfer desk when called? What about those who might be elderly/infirm etc?
You can check in up to 28 days in advance with Monarch so I’m not sure how “simple” it really is.11th February 2014 at 08:26 #527359
Simons1 – as the monarch flight is operating it as either a charter or seat on,y flight with the seats being sold to consolidators the airport! and check in would have no way of knowing how much people have paid for their seats ???that would never be an option11th February 2014 at 09:11 #527357
I don’t disagree there Eastbourneguy. Its a no win situation. There will always be people unhappy with the outcome. Not just a question of saying that obviously people who checked in last should be bumped first. With flights like this you could end up bumping people who bought a holiday months ago in favour of someone who bought a ticket a week ago through a consolidator, simply because they checked in later.11th February 2014 at 10:02 #527360
The original plane had a crack in the windscreen to could not be used and Monarch substituted with two smaller planes which left not long after each other.
The complaint about the Swissport handling of the bags is very valid as it made their life easier by not having to load and empty bins and scan bag tags but this meant that all the pax and the bags were a little bit sodden, adding to the misery.
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